In the last 20 years, the strong impact of technology on everyday life significantly changed the way data are processed. This is even more true if we think about the issue of data protection and the way in which data are produced, collected and shared. This change made the previous European Directive (dir 95/46/CE) obsolete and made it necessary to introduce the new EU Regulation 679/2016. The GDPR makes a radical change in the approach to data processing. The GDPR was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on May 4, 2016, it is already in force and must be implemented until May 25, 2018.

This is the first of a series of articles in which we are going to cover the Regulation point by point.

The first question that comes to mind is: when is the EU 679/2016 Regulation applied?

  1. processing of personal data wholly or partly by automated means, for example through database
  2. processing of personal data by non-automated means which form part of a filing system or are intended to form part of a filing system

Therefore, irrespective of the method that the companies use to collect data, they shall nonetheless adhere to the same legal framework. As a result, data protection is technology-neutral.

When, on the contrary, does the Regulation not apply?

This happens when the data processing is performed by a natural person in the course of a purely personal or household activity, for example when handling private correspondence, or for the personal use of social media. Mixed activities (such as e-mailing that includes personal content as well as commercial content) are instead subject to the Regulation. The field or the size of the company do not affect the application of the legislation: the same requirements apply to small companies, as well as large multinational companies, with few exceptions.

Ultimately, the new Regulation becomes part of the European legislation with the purpose of handling data processing differently than before. The Regulation closes the legal loopholes deriving from the rapid development of technology, which is nowadays present even in the most personal aspects of people’s lives and therefore required a precise regulation.